sweet sixteen

When I think back to our last anniversary, as we celebrated fifteen years of marriage, the word that comes to mind is surreal. After more than 20 years together, we never imagined to be celebrating the way we were.

For the past fifteen years, I have written in the tattered pages of a handmade guest book from our beautiful wedding in 1996 to commemorate how we celebrated each anniversary. The first few were quiet weekends away and lovely long dinners with fabulous food and wine. On our very first anniversary, we stayed in a romantic farmhouse by the ocean and actually tasted the top of our (defrosted) wedding cake, which somehow retained the delicate scent of roses. One of those early years, I got really upset because while we both had wanted to take the day off to celebrate, we just couldn’t and there were tears.

For our fifth anniversary in 2001, we planned a long awaited trip to the South of France. I was still in law school and we had very little money, but we knew we had to get away for our sanity. Planned for months, our trip had to be rescheduled when our beloved dog got sick, and she ended up dying when we would have been gone. We went later that summer and returned just two weeks before 9/11.

For our 10th anniversary in 2006, we enjoyed a magnificent vacation we wouldn’t have been able to take with little ones — nearly two weeks walking across Paris and Prague. By then we had been trying for a few years to build our family and I was growing rather distressed and depressed. That spring we had lost our only child, a son, and aside from being lost in grief, there was no chance of trying again for months. Quite honestly we needed to celebrate us, and we did. Plus, planning was the greatest distraction. Even that trip was not without false hope, however, and as we returned home I was reminded once again that we might not ever have the family we so desired.

Over the next two years, through multiple surgeries and failed treatments, our attention shifted to adoption. While we had considered it before, we started reading more and attending workshops. We needed to make some important decisions. Yet our efforts to build our family had clearly taken a toll and we also needed a break. For our 12th anniversary in 2008, we planned a wild and crazy trip to Vegas. The day before we left, we went to our first ever support meeting at the home of our adoption counselor. The meeting — which joined together various members of the adoption constellation — was intriguing but also very stressful. The next morning, we argued on the way to the airport. Needless to say, the meeting was an up close introduction to the intricacies of open adoption and proved to be rather auspicious. We returned the following month and kept going back until after our daughter was born less than a year later.

The following year, we didn’t need a fancy getaway. In 2009, we celebrated lucky 13 at home with our glorious four week old baby girl. We were the happiest parents ever. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t slept, or eaten. We were parents, finally.

Last year we celebrated 15 years of marriage soon after discovering the unthinkable — i.e., that several years since letting go of the idea of having a baby, after seven years of infertility and loss, I was inexplicably more than five months pregnant at age 42. After a major freakout complete with anxiety attack over the idea of suffering another devastating loss, we learned that the baby was somehow healthy and thriving, and while the risks were quite high, there was a real chance we would make Jaye a big sister after all. There were no guarantees, but we were in good hands. On our 15th anniversary in 2011, we went on our first date in two years, when Jaye’s favorite sitter agreed to drive half an hour each way and then refused to take more than gas fare. Sitting across from my beloved husband that night over a lovely quiet dinner — a rare occasion indeed — we couldn’t believe how surreal it was. Unbelievable, really.

Now on the eve of our sweet sixteen, we finally have the family we always wanted but never thought possible. While this past year has been the most bizarre of our lives, while we have been tested in ways we never before imagined, we have also experienced insurmountable joy. Sometimes I look at you, Mac, at us, at our amazing little family, and I feel such marvelous abundant love. Gratitude. Joy. Contentment. Perfection.

With you, I look back in awe and I look forward with wonder.

Mac, I love you from the depth of my soul to the ends of the universe. You continue to show me, every day, why I chose you. I love your generous spirit, your wise compassionate soul, your kind playful heart. Thank you for your love, laughter and passion, for years of faith and support. You make it all worthwhile and I am forever grateful for you. Happy Anniversary, my love. This old married couple is sweet sixteen.

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~ by luna on June 29, 2012.

23 Responses to “sweet sixteen”

  1. YAY wonderful post, there might have been alot of heartache, but you have your family now. Happy Anniversary, we are 1 month behind you but will be on year 12.

  2. Happy Anniversary! So glad to see you at this incredible place as a family. Happy-happy-happy anniversary!

  3. And to you my love and my soul mate, thank you for always being by my side, through ups and downs, thick and thin. Happy Anniversary! Looking forward to our continued shared lifetime! I love you

  4. Happy Anniversary!! Such a beautiful day!

  5. Aww..how sweet of Mac to reply. Happy Anniversary to a couple whose love for each other continues to grow!

  6. Happy 16th guys. May your years together be blessed with the constancy of love and laughter and the blossoming of your two girls. Mwhah! Wishing I was in your home to toast you both!

  7. So beautiful. Hope you both have a wonderful anniversary.

  8. A very Happy Anniversary to both of you!

    So, back to Paris for the 20th anniversary? Without little ones, or with? 🙂

    • aha! yes, paris would be lovely… we are already thinking of our 20th too. we decided to renew our vows with the girls who will be 7 and 4, but not sure where…

      thanks for the good wishes!

  9. My love to you both on your Sweet Sixteen. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

  10. Awesome anniversary love letter to your husband and children. Happy anniversary!

  11. Happy Anniversary to you all!

  12. Happy anniversary! I love that you have kept track of each year, and that this one can go down as such a wonderful one.

  13. Awww! Congratulations!

  14. I adore this post and the life it represents, heartbreaking and breathtaking. Much love to your gorgeous family.

  15. I have little to add to the vast applause and love above other than thank you for this generous love letter. It makes me so excited about love. You know?

  16. I used to follow your blog, but for one reason or another I lost it and then lost track of you sometime after your adoption. I am so happy for you and your family, coming back and reading this is amazing. Congratulations on your new addition and your anniversary.

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